The Home Office Statement of Changes
The United Kingdom is a popular destination for international students, offering education and diverse cultural experiences. However, recent changes in the UK’s immigration policy have raised concerns among students and qualifying individuals seeking access to pre-settled status. The United Kingdom’s immigration landscape is shifting with the introduction of a new Statement of Changes that includes various updates and clarifications. Among these updates are measures that directly affect student visas and pre-settled status for eligible individuals.
What Are the Major Changes?
In the new Statement of Changes announced by the UK governments is the implementation of new restrictions for student visas. According to the updated regulations, effective from July 17, 2023, international students will face limitations on their ability to switch onto work routes until they have completed their course of study. This measure aims to ensure that students primarily come to the UK for educational purposes. Moreover they should only switch within the regular timeframe.
Students undertaking degree-level courses or higher will still be allowed to apply for work visas before completing their studies. Moreover, their employment start date may not be earlier than their course completion date. Ph.D. students, however, will be allowed to switch after 24 months of study.
How Will These Restrictions Impact Dependent Family Members for International Students?
Additionally, from January 1, 2024, international students will no longer have the right to bring dependent family members unless they are on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programs. This means that students starting their courses from this date will be affected by this change. However, students commencing their courses in autumn 2023 will not be impacted, and they can still apply to bring dependents. This limitation aims to reduce the burden on public services and ensure that only students in courses of significant academic value can bring their family members to the UK.
From January 1, 2024, the ability to bring dependents will only be available for government-sponsored students or those studying for a Ph.D., doctorate, or a research-based higher degree. Dependents who are already in the UK can extend their leave if they are eligible to do so.
While these changes are intended to enhance immigration control and maintain the integrity of the student visa system, they may pose challenges for some students. In particular those who had previously relied on work opportunities or wanted to be accompanied by their dependents during their studies.
The new Statement of Changes in the UK’s immigration policy brings several updates. Most of these impact international students and individuals under the EU Settlement Scheme. Second, the restrictions on dependents and switching from the student route aim to maintain immigration control. Third, the changes to the EUSS streamline the settlement process for qualifying individuals.
The new Statement of Changes in the UK’s immigration policy brings several updates with significant implications for students and qualifying individuals seeking pre-settled status. The new restrictive rules on student visas aim to reinforce immigration control and ensure that students primarily come to the UK for educational purposes. However, they may pose challenges for students looking to switch onto work routes or sponsor dependents during their studies.
It is crucial for affected individuals to stay updated on the latest guidelines and consult with relevant authorities or legal experts. Consequently, they will understand the implications of these changes and ensure compliance with the updated immigration regulations.
For More information:
Speak to our Head of Immigration, Leena Chouhan, to learn more about our UK Immigration services.